Do you like the idea of living a vegetarian lifestyle but don’t like the idea of giving up meat forever? For many people, it is that finite definition that turns them off a vegetarian diet. Telling yourself there are items you can never have again is a lot to process and accept. It’s for this reason that the flexitarian diet proves to be so popular, as it’s more of a middle-of-the-road option that provides much more flexibility, just as its name implies.

Here are some tips that you can use when transitioning to a flexitarian diet.

What Is a Flexitarian Diet?

It’s really hard to make the transition if you aren’t sure what a flexitarian diet is. The concept is simple. A flexitarian eats a mostly vegetarian diet, so it’s heavy on plant-based foods, but you can still eat meat and animal products in moderation. So, you may have a few days in a row where you only eat vegetarian foods, and the odd day of eating meat.

Make the Transition Gradually

The first tip is to make the transition to a flexitarian diet gradually. Going cold turkey and removing meat and animal products completely can be difficult to accept, it also isn't always the healthiest approach. Instead, experts suggest you slowly start cutting back on the amount of meat you consume daily.

Try going meat-free two days a week and cut down on the portion size a bit. As your body gets used to the change you can eat meat even less and again cut back on the portion size. The goal should be to eat a vegetarian diet at least five days a week.

Use a Weekly Meal Plan

This is a tip that can benefit anyone as it takes the stress and guesswork out of meal preparation. Learning how to adhere to a new diet means you'll likely be coming up with recipes and meals that aren't in your normal rotation. You want to be sure you've got the necessary ingredients on hand and that it works with your schedule - enough time to prepare the meal.

Planning out meals one week in advance means you can purchase the groceries needed, prepare items, or even cook the meal in advance and not feel flustered at mealtimes. For those with a busy work schedule, be sure to pick quick and easy-to-prepare meals. You can always download a meal planning app to make things simple.

Invest In Some New Recipe Books

Speaking of recipes, now is a great time to invest in some new recipe books. Celebrate this transition — make it exciting and fresh so you look forward to your new eating lifestyle. You can also find free recipes online and even watch tutorials to help you with technique and meal preparation.

At its root, the flexitarian diet is about giving people choices and helping them to improve their health through the food they eat. A flexitarian diet doesn’t equate to sacrifices and ruling out foods forever; it’s based on moderation.